Thursday, June 24, 2021

For Arky Staiman, his chosen career as a tour guide in Eretz Yisrael affords him opportunities to connect to the land and help connect the next generations to the land of their heritage.

Arky, named in memory of his great-grandfather Aaron, made aliyah from Baltimore in 2010, as did three generations of his family. His grandparents, Sholom, z’l, and Naomi Staiman moved to Jerusalem; parents, Jeremy and Chana Staiman settled in Ramat Beit Shemesh; and Arky went to study at Lev Hatorah and eventually served as a paratrooper through the Hesder program at Yeshivat Otniel.

Prior to making aliyah, summers at Camp Stone reinforced the passion that Staiman was nurturing for Israel. Upon marrying Avigayil, the couple moved to Haifa, where she was pursuing a course in mechanical engineering at the Technion. Arky enrolled in the national tour guiding course, which is a rigorous, extensive historical and cultural two-year program that culminates in official government licensing. Fortuitously, he was offered a position guiding tours at the Bahai Gardens at the top of the mini-rail in Haifa. The experience of leading Christians, Muslims, Arabs, as well as Jews, religious and non-religious, through the magnificent sacred gardens was an excellent launch into his career as a tour guide.

“Israel With Arky” is more than a touring service. For Staiman, it is a mission. With a focus on families with young and teenage children, he combines historical information with messages from Tanach and Jewish thought.

Residing in Tekoa with his growing family that includes Zimra, 3, and Netzach Yisrael, 1, Staiman leads his guests on tours throughout the country. Favorite destinations are Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, the Shomron and the Dead Sea. He has also conducted in-person tours for gap year programs such as Midreshet Amit and a group from Teaneck’s Ma’ayanot High School during their participation in the Jerusalem Marathon.

With tourism drying up during the pandemic, Staiman pivoted to leading virtual tours. In both his virtual and in-person tours, Staiman incorporates opportunities for enjoyable interactions through props, role-playing, games and activities. This past Chanukah, Staiman took a group from Teaneck’s TABC Yeshiva High School on a virtual tour through the sites of the battle of the Chashmonaim against the Greeks.

In the words of TABC junior Eitan Laub, “The program was really awesome and informative. I was taught a lot in such a short class through stories, pictures and physical examples of archeological finds.”

Rabbi Howard Jachter, rebbe at TABC and morah d’atra of Congregation Shaarei Ora in Teaneck, has seen and subscribed to the programs for youngsters and adults offered by Staiman. He shared, “Arky has a fantastic way of holding the attention of students as well as families of different ages and interests. Arky is blessed with great charisma and his love for every inch of Eretz Yisrael is majorly impactful.”

Among Staiman’s available virtual tours are the following educational experiences:

“Miraculous Stories From the Wars of Israel” shares incredible tales from the battlefield bunkers to the most advanced tanks in the world. “Mystical Tzfat” tours visitors through the winding alleyways, colorful shuls and all-encompassing magic of this mystical city. “Hevron” connects travelers to the Avot and Imahot with untold stories of heroism. “The City of David” explores the latest treasures uncovered underneath the Old City. For a more physical experience Arky Tours offers a virtual “Interactive Boot Camp” simulating the virtual training of an Israeli paratrooper, a perfect activity for a teenage audience during Chol Hamoed.

To arrange for an in-person or virtual tour with “Israel With Arky,” email [email protected], call (410) 844-3075, or visit Israel With Arky on Facebook.

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